The discovery of a wishing well turns a quiet Cotswold village into a hotbed of seething resentment.
Practically the entire village of Finch turns out for the funeral of Hector Huggins, a man who was so retiring that even the remarkably skillful village gossips know little about him. Arriving at the last minute is Jack MacBride, a handsome young Australian claiming to be Mr. Huggins’ nephew bent on settling his uncle’s estate. Once his bona fides are established, sleuthing expat American Lori Shepherd (Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince, 2013, etc.) offers to help Jack clean up his uncle’s vastly overgrown garden. They’re joined by Bree Pym, a Kiwi who’s recently inherited a home in Finch and has no love for Aussies. Jack finds a vine-covered wishing well bearing the words “Speak and your wish will be granted.” When Lori jokingly wishes it would stop raining and it does, the word is out. Soon, many of the villagers are visiting Jack to make use of the well, some in the dead of night. Throughout all the casseroles and queries about his life he’s plied with, Jack remains good-natured, even when it comes to Bree’s barbed questions. Some of the villagers’ wishes start to come true, but their success doesn’t always bring them happiness. In fact, some start to neglect their duties, and others get into nasty fights. Lori, who’s busy helping Jack, caring for her rambunctious twin boys and trying to assure her attorney husband that she’s not getting into trouble, still has time to be deeply suspicious about all the wishes coming true. With the help of her spirit adviser, Aunt Dimity, she begins to find a common thread that leads to an unexpected result.
Lori’s latest is perfect for those who prefer charmingly low-key puzzles to blood-soaked chills and thrills.